Thursday, September 30, 2010

movie review: Julie and Julia

It seemed appropraite to watch a movie about cooking as I was writing down recipies. And let me tell you, now all I want to do is cook. Woe is me that I don't have the money to do it, or the people to do it for, or the talent for cooking that these women have. Still, now I want to cook. I made my grocery list after watching this movie, does that count?

Wonderful idea. A duel story between the lives of two women: Julia Childs on her road to success as a goddess of a cook, and Julie Powell on her road to control in her life. That is an utterly simplified version of this movie. It's a great movie. Everything about it is good. The tying together of these two life stories, the design, the direction, the acting; it's all good.

And the food. Need I really mention the food? I think the only thing I really didn't like about this movie is the fact that I couldn't smell or taste the food. But that is the beef I have with any food related show.

Meryl Streep is amazing. The woman is a chameleon! Is there anything she can not do? Amy Adams is one of those emerging actresses. Well, I guess by now she isn't emerging, really. She is to me, I guess. I'd like to see more of her work. Really, I have only seen her in Doubt (which I adored! - and again, her paired with Meryl Streep and Phillip S Hoffman made that an EXCELLENT movie) and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day which was great, but I don't think it did justice to her possible talents. Still, it was a great movie, and she was good in it. The rest of the cast was wonderful, and I must say, it was nice to see Jane Lynch as something other than a snarky cheerleading coach.

Solid 4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Movie Review: Dead End (1937)

Once again, WOW. I love this movie. Not a complete 5 out of 5, but a very respectable 4 1/2 stars.

Based on the stage play of the same name, this film is about life down by the docks of the East River in NY. It is an interesting time, because very recently, the fashionable and rich moved into the area in big apartment buildings that overlooked the river and its "picturesque" views. With the fashionable front street closed for repairs, the rich must mingle with the poor on the back street.

A hot scorcher day in the slums. Its starts out like everyday with everyone getting up and starting the day. You meet the groups that define the area. The "Dead End Kids" who are pretty much hoodlums. They talk tough, act tough, and try hard to be tougher than the slums they grew up in. They're not a good bunch of kids. They've got it in for the rich kid who lives in the apartment looking over their turf. The leader of the Dead End Kids is Tommy Gordon. He lives with his sister, Drina(Sylvia Sidney), who has always slaved away in the slums to try and get a better life for herself and her brother. She is on strike from her work, trying to get a raise which will allow her to send Tommy someplace better. You meet Dave (Joel McRea), who grew up in the area, managed to escape to college and became an architecht. But, as one character says, jobs "don't grow on trees" and Dave is back in the tenants, doing odd jobs to pay his way. Dave has met and fallen for a girl named Kay, who is the fiance of one of the fashionable rich. Kay loves him too, but not where he comes from, or what he has. On this particular day we also meet "Baby Face" Martin (Humphrey Bogart), an infamous murderer who grew up in the area. Now a big-time gangster, he managed to get some face work done so that few can really recognize him. He has returned to see his mother (Marjorie Main) and his best girl Francey (Claire Trevor).
It's a great story with a lot of social problems seen and discussed. I imagine the play would be better at the moral part, but the film does okay. The set is fantastic and gritty. I loved so many of the shots used in this film. There is a fantastic lack of space, throughout the entire thing except at the docks, the "dead end." Beyond that is just the river. A lot of the settings have that wonderful sense of being very enclosed. When Kay goes into the tenants to meet Dave, her horror is perfectly justified in the way these people lived. But there is also a sense of doing the best with what you have. You always see people cleaning, painting, trying to improve their enviroment and their lives as much as possible. It says something about the people there, and the time it was made.

As far as acting goes, Sylvia Sidney is a little melodramatic, but appropriately so - her character has a beautiful moment of confessing her dream to Dave, and in that moment, you truly see the beauty in her; Joel McRea is fantastic - he is kind of the moral beacon of the piece, but you can see his struggles between what he wants and what he should do; Bogart is as amazing as always - he is constantly the gangster, but he's never the same one twice, and in this film you really see the man behind the story. But the two best performances for me came from Marjorie Main and Claire Trevor. They did not get much screen time, but they were fantastic. First of all, Main is usually a very specific character actress, and when I first saw her, I couldn't recognize her at all. She was so gripping! You could hear the various levels of disgust in her voice as well as the weariness and pain. Her scream near the end of the movie is shattering! And Claire Trevor was amazing as well. In her brief appearance she captured that character. You could see who she was, what she became, how it hurt her, and how she hated it. In her voice and eyes, you could see her anger and pain. I was fascinated. The movie doesn't say this, but in the script she has syphilis. She does say in the movie that she is "sick" What I love about this character is that she is truthful about it. Knowing that he has come back to take her with him, and to build a life with her, she shoves him away and tells him that she isn't good for him. After he truly looks at her, all she can manage to say is "What did you expect?" And that says it all. It's amazing.

I highly, HIGHLY reccommend this movie!
4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Public Apology

I have to learn to be more careful about what I write.

The biggest problem about having a public blog is that sometimes people read it, and aren't entirely pleased with what they read. Just like any diary or journal entry, only this time, it is on a public forum and many other people can read it, interpret it, and understand it differently.
A couple people fell victim to my careless phrasing, and I want to apologize.
You know who you are, so I am not going into any more details so as to not create a stir and to protect the innocent.

I am so sorry.

I have no excuses; I only have the reason of: I didn't think. Sometimes when I write I get so caught up in a thought or a feeling and I just go with it and use an entry to flush the feelings away. I now recognize how terrible that can be.
I hurt some people dear to me with my writing and I feel terrible about it. I can't truly erase what has already been done, but what I can do is learn from my horrible mistakes. And trust me, I have. There is no worse feeling in the world, I think, than knowing that you have hurt someone you care about.

All I can say is that I love you and I am sorry and I ask forgiveness for my carelessness.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Hard, You Know

Well things have been ... going. Not well, but it could be a lot worse.
Had 2 interviews this last week - One with a coffee shop and one with Vanity. Both seemed to go pretty well, especially the coffee shop one. I had great recommendations from employees there, so I am hoping against hope that I get the job. At least it would be something. I won't know from either of those places until the end of this week, so that is frustrating. I've not heard anything from anywhere else. Tomorrow, I begin calling all the places I have put in applications and asking where I am in their process. I have done this with a couple places before, and each said they would get back to me - and each place has had a week to do so. I'm getting very frustrated. Why is it so hard for me to get a job?
Money is getting SO tight and bills are piling, and I'm just getting scared. I CAN NOT go home. I mean, I can, but the last thing I want to do is prove some people right. After a comment this earlier this year, I am bound and determined to make it on my own, but life is not making that easy at all. I know it is not supposed to be easy, but at this point, I just need SOMETHING to go right. I've lost my chance at getting into the Duplex my friend is in. And until I have a job, I don't have anything to offer any perspective landlords. I just feel so helpless right now.
If it weren't for my family and friends, I don't know what I would do. I've become pretty good at enjoying free entertainment and drinking water. I'm on a trivia night team now. Every Monday at Brigid's Cross. We're not amazing, but it is a really fun time. I've gone to a couple free concerts at the local bars, and have been getting into watching my friends play Magic and whatnot.
The best was one day after an interview: I went to a coffee shop to fill out an application and stayed drinking water for a while until I had to meet with a friend to discuss 'Dog Sees God' in another coffee shop. Then we both went to the Pawn Shop to see a friend who works there. The owner, a really wonderful guy, asked if we wanted anything from next door (another coffee shop) and I ended up getting a free chai tea. So my friend and I went next door for a couple hours and just sat and chatted until our other friend got off of work. The thing was: that day began HORRIBLY, and on my way to the interview, I just cried because everything was weighing on me. But sitting in the shop with my free chai and a dear friend talking about this and that and theatre was just the perfect medicine.
Speaking of theatre: it is official - I am directing Dog Sees God. I signed the contract today. Only 2 performances though. Still, we got the alternate version of the script from the author (who, by the way, is the nicest man I have never met), and everything seems to be running smoothly. Hopefully soon, they will schedule production meetings and we will get started on that. Auditions are early October and we perform mid-November. I am very excited, but I am also nervous. I want to use this opportunity for a lot of things; namely to show TU what they can do if they really put their all in, but also to prove that I can do this too. Granted, I don't think this will be able to happen, but I have this secret desire to have a bunch of really important people in my life come to this show, just to show them what I can do as a director.
Aside from that: said good-bye to Andy. That was hard. I was proud though - didn't cry until after I left, and only a little. I know I will see him again, it was just that he bowed to me before I left, and well, you know how sentimental I am. It's a long story, but a bow means something special to the two of us, and so, it just got to me. Saying good-bye to him brought back a lot of feelings I've been having lately. I miss my absent friends terribly. I've been trying really hard not to be "that" friend, so I haven't tried to call anyone, and only occasionally text them. But that's still been pretty hard. There are some that I miss so much; I miss being with them, but mostly I just miss talking to them, and I want to call them so bad, but I can't bother them that way, and well, it's just hard.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sickness & Dog Sees God

Ugh! I am sick. Today is better than yesterday though, thank goodness! I was a mess. All the sinuses were draining and I felt like my face was about to slide off of my ... face. It was not pleasant. Today I am merely stuffed up - but I can feel the collecting and it feels icky. I hate it when I get sick. I am never one to be taken care of, so yeah, more frustrations. Oh well.

On the more positive side: I got the directing gig - this is for sure happening! We have most of the designers on board except for Props (go figure) and Sound. Someone said they would be willing to do Sound, but I am thinking that the person needs to be more of an actual Designer as compared to a Technician, which is what this person is. Hopefully we will find someone in the music department who can manage. My good friend is doing the graphics and I couldn't be more excited about that because this girl is seriously talented. Also kind of excited for the girl who asked to Costume Design. She has been refused Design at the university, and it is something she has been trying to do for a while. I like giving people opportunities like that. The good thing is that we're going for modern, realistic costumes, so she won't be too overwhelmed with having to find things, but on the other hand, there are up to 40+ costumes in the show - so she won't be bored.
I can not wait to start having production meetings! I've got so many ideas running around in my head! If this turns out even 3/4 as cool as I'm thinking, we're going to have a great looking show. Of course, it is going to be up to them to make it work, and I can only hope they will be as enthused as I am. The first TU meeting went well, and it sounds like many of them are excited about this as well. Right now, I think my biggest problem is going to be finding the medium between helping them and doing it for them (At least when it comes to the paper work and design) - but I'm also not too worried about it as of now. This is mostly because I'm obsessed with figuring the characters. The more I dig, the more I feel that my concept is perfect - which is always a good thing, I think. It really is interesting to see how the characters have changed, but more importantly, why. What have they chosen to change? What have they held onto? It is just fascinating! I can hardly wait to get some actors in on this.
But I am also nervous. I was a bit of a wreck when I directed 'Boys Next Door' Thankfully I have grown a bit since then and I honestly think I can do this, and do it well. But still - this is my first out-of-school directing experience, so a lot is riding on this. I know that if this show fails, it will be my fault, and I will be tainted as a director. So, I am really hoping I can do this justice. I had a dream about the experience, and it was mostly great, but the dream ended on a weird note: everyone that I had ever worked with in theatre was in the opening night audience. EVERYONE. And to make matters a little scarier, everyone had a rose and a tomato aimed at me, looking at me like "which one are you going to get??" Then I woke up. YIKES! Freaky? Yes. Not saying that I don't want to have people to come and see this, but wow - not like that.

Okay, well that is enough for now. I'll keep you posted!